I've been reading a lot about food this year: Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Food Rules, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and Mark Bittman's Food Matters, among others. They all seem to be telling us the same thing: Eat real food, not too much, grown locally, mainly plant-based. Now here comes a film that not only re-emphasizes that this style of eating is good for us, it shows us that it can actually reverse the heart damage caused by all those years of scarfing triple cheeseburgers and mainlining mayo.
Chow Down follows three people: Charles, the lovable family man, John, the wry, witty professor and Garnet, the professional woman whose family loves pizza. Each one has decided to try an extremely low-fat, vegetarian diet (developed at the Cleveland Clinic) to reverse their heart disease; the film provides plenty of data to back up the claims. (And yes, there are the usual "talking heads," of course--it would not be a documentary without them, right?) The upbeat, lighthearted animation keeps the style informative, never preachy, and I really found myself rooting for the three as they "eat as if their lives depended on it."